Non-fiction offerings from Showtime and HBO were among the six projects to be lauded at the 13th annual Television Academy Honors for bringing awareness to social issues.
The Television Academy – which is the group behind the Emmy Awards – selected the documentaries, drama series, limited programs and comedy commentary series that shed light on complex issues and challenges facing society, including women’s rights, mental health, substance abuse and addiction, sexual abuse, race relations, and gender discrimination.
Among the honorees is 16 Shots, the Rick Rowley-directed feature from Showtime Documentary Films in association with Topic, Impact Partners and Chicago Media Project. The 82-minute film investigates the 2014 fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke and the ensuing cover-up.
Erin Lee Carr’s At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal (pictured) has also been recognized by the Television Academy. Produced by Sidewinder Films II and HBO Documentary Films, the 88-minute explores the sexual abuse and assault of at least 256 young women at the hands of USA Gymnastics national team doctor and Michigan State University physician Larry Nassar, who was sentenced to life in prison for his crimes in January 2018.
Also honored were Netflix’s Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj and Unbelievable, Oprah Winfrey Network’s Queen Sugar and HBO’s Watchmen.
In light of recent state and nationwide directives regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, the Honors Awards ceremony scheduled for April has been postponed indefinitely.
“During this difficult time for our industry and our country, the Television Academy Honors plays an important role in recognizing contemporary programming that speaks to our humanity and brings us together,” said Maury McIntyre, Television Academy president and COO, in a statement. “We would like to thank our judges for their commitment and virtual engagement at this challenging time.”
“Now more than ever, television remains one of the most powerful mediums to reach and touch people. We applaud those brave visionaries who choose to tell difficult and empowering stories,” added Jill Sanford, governor for the Children’s Programming Peer Group, serving as vice-chair of the Television Academy.